You and your dentist in the practice may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed. Others may have advanced periodontal (gum) disease or are broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth). They may also be removed in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
The removal of a single tooth can negatively affect your chewing ability or appearance. The loss of teeth can cause problems with your jaw joint, and can result in the shifting of your remaining teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health.
To avoid these complications, we will discuss alternatives to extractions as well replacement of the extracted tooth.
The Extraction Process
At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb your tooth, jawbone, and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic.
During the extraction process you may feel a lot of pressure. This is due to the process of firmly rocking the tooth that ultimately separates the tooth from the bone.
You feel the pressure but without pain since the anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain to the brain. The nerves themselves are not affected and will return to normal after the local anesthetic has been absorbed and eliminated by the body.
If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction, please let us know right away.
Sectioning a Tooth
Some teeth require sectioning. This is a very common procedure done when a tooth is so firmly anchored in its socket or the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. The doctor simply cuts the tooth into sections then removes each section one at a time.
After Care Following Tooth Extraction
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If more than slight bleeding or oozing persists, place another gauze pad over the wound and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge it. The clot aids in healing; it is the body’s “bandage”. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol, or brush the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the first 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. This can be done for 15 minutes and repeated after waiting for another 15 minutes. In a pinch, an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn will do the job as well. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
Use any prescribed pain medication as directed. Call the office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean. Avoid commercially available mouth rinses since they can irritate the extraction site or damage the clot. Gentle, warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm water) can be used the day following extraction. Continue, however, to avoid the extraction site for another two days.
After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for two to three days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at 802.482.3155.
Pain & Medications
If you experience pain, and no prescription medication was written, you might use non-prescription pain relief medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil). Never use old medications or those written for others.
For most extractions, make sure you do your chewing away from the extraction site. Stay away from hot liquids and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours. A liquid diet may be recommended for 24 hours.
A, so-called “dry socket” occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the socket where the tooth has been extracted or the clot has been dislodged.
Following the postoperative extraction instructions will reduce the chances of developing dry socket. Dry sockets manifest themselves as a dull throbbing pain that usually doesn’t appear until a few days after the extraction. The pain can be moderate to severe and radiate from the extraction area. Dry socket may cause a bad taste or bad breath and the extraction site appears empty or “dry”.
In this case we may ask you to come in to the office and we will apply a medicated dressing to the dry socket to soothe the pain and stimulate healing.
After a tooth has been extracted there will be a noticeable depression where the tooth was. In time, this will smooth over and fill in with new bone. This process can take many weeks or months. However after 1- 2 weeks you should no longer notice any inconvenience.